Is Alcohol Banned In Your Office?

Friday question, spurred by this incredible article: "How High-Flying Zenefits Fell To Earth" I encourage you to read it, it's a wild tale.

Money quote:

"Pervading the offices in San Francisco and Arizona, meanwhile, was an almost fraternity-like atmosphere, with whiskey shots, kegs, and bottles of champagne."

Zenefits, btw, is the poster child for the tech bubble and is now imploding for a variety of issues, including probably illegal actions.

In any event, I've never been in an office where alcohol was an issue (or for that matter, even used regularly) but what do you think?

Here in Hawai'i, Pau Hana (Time after work) on Aloha Friday of each week and every week, we settle for a few bottles of Heineken to vent, reflect, and relax!

In all the places I've worked, not once have I ever seen alcohol in the office building. Which is not surprising. Not only does it expose the company, and now in public companies probably also the leadership personally, to legal liabilities, but it's also unprofessional in the extreme. You want to have a beer with your co-workers? Head on down to the pub....

At one office, alcohol was banned. It didn't used to be, but then someone got stopped after an office party.

At the other, 3PM Fridays and beyond, a couple of people having beers at their desks was not uncommon. An occasional lunch beer was also fine.

For a small business, the liability can be overwhelming if a sales rep or staff person injures someone while on "the clock".

We have a company policy primarily for outside sales people but it applies to all. In summary, the policy says that taking a drink (alcohol) means that the person has "clocked out" for the day. Which means that the liability is on the person. If in a company vehicle, the person is subject to termination as well.

Best part about watching Mad Men was fantasizing about getting hammered in the office and taking a nap on my (hypothetical) office couch. Then leaving early for the day for some more drinking.

But alas, it's not the 1960's any more and today any office, large or small, is asking for trouble with the practice.

On a business trip, I once visited Ingram Micro's (!) Munich HQ. Right after being introduced, I was given, not offered a Henieken. It was a Monday. AM.

Also, ages ago I consulted for Labatt USA a few years after they bought Rolling Rock, and beer was literally everywhere, though not being an actual Labatt employee I was limited by my own company's regulations.

That's not to say I ever ran out of brilliant arguments of why I should have been allowed...


I'm not a fan of Weyerbacher's Pale Ale myself, but...

Not to turn this into a beer discussion, but Weyerbacher is local to me and that's one of the only beers by them I like.

Yes, along with sex, drugs, and rock 'n roll!

Beer and IP video surveillance are a bad combination as it increases the number of hops between the cameras and the server.

Maybe it's just an aged port?

Let's face it, putting beer taps into the work place is a way to lure wide eyed Millennials in with the promise of a fun work place that is nothing like where their parents used to work. It's a bad idea and I am sure more and more companies will eventually move away from this. Especially as the novelty wears off and the reality sets in that combining alcohol and work is a bad idea, in most businesses at least.

...combining alcohol and work is a bad idea...

Though workaholics are hired on the spot.

One of the many benefits of working from home!

We do not ban, we actually celebrate milestones together with a drink of the employees preferred beverage. If they dont want to partake, we stock the fridge with whatever they like thats not alcoholic so they can still be included. Its part of the work together celebrate together mentality. That said, that always happens at the end of the day Friday, and anyone whose judgement is impaired is done. Its never happened. Overdoing it is not part of the culture. We've had the same bottles in the fridge for going on 4 years now. Then again, we do have a brewery next door. I tried to get them to put in a metered tap into our break room, but state said nogo.

I just remembered something relevant. Several years ago I fired a guy because I found him passed out on the lobby couch. When I went to the build bench there was a bottle of evan williams in the trash can. Guy had lost his apartment and decided to crash at the office and not tell anyone. Would have never found out if he hadnt gotten himself hammered and passed out on the couch. huh. I'd totally forgotten about that.

I come from an area that had lots of wealthy people. I remember one day a friend asking me if I would like to go to lunch. I said sure, where are we going? His reply was Tahiti. It seems like the more successful we get the more we think we need to reward ourselves, ie alcohol, parties, things, etc. I'm sure I am older than most on this board and was probably one of the worst offenders at self rewarding, in many different areas. So many of my friends lost their wealth, health and families getting in the habit of drinking. OK, I'm not saying that there is anything wrong with having a beer, drink or glass of wine, but not at work.

I personally think your business image is tarnished when alcohol is allowed in the office. The office is a place of integrity, discipline and focus for the owner and the employees. Employees are free to do whatever they choose when they leave.

Making the jump from keeping a bottle of scotch at the office to lunch in tahiti is a fairly large gap...

Making the jump from keeping a bottle of scotch at the office to lunch in tahiti is a fairly large gap...

Speak for yourself...;)